Call for proposals
Announcement on the call for proposals under the bilateral cooperation fund under the EEA Financial Mechanis 2009-2014
ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS UNDER THE BILATERAL COOPERATION FUND UNDER THE EEA FINANCIAL MECHANISM 2009-2014 FOR THE PL02 OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME "PROTECTION OF THE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS"
the Minister of the Environment, as the Operator of the PL02 Operational Programme: “Protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems”, announces a call for proposals under the Bilateral Cooperation Fund of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 in the framework of the Programme for project co-financing amounting to EUR 258,150, i.e. PLN 1,086,630.80.
1. Objective of the Bilateral Cooperation Fund in the framework of the PL02 Programme “Protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems”
The goal of the Fund is to develop partnerships and facilitate networking, exchange, sharing and transfer of knowledge, technologies, expenditure and best practices between beneficiaries and entities from Donor-States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway).
The measures taken under the Fund refer to the PL02 programme objective, which consists in preventing the loss of biodiversity.
2. Type of projects eligible for co-financing
The projects eligible for co-financing are only bilateral projects that are submitted in partnership with an organisation from Donor States and contribute to the exchange of experience, knowledge, technologies and best practices between the beneficiaries and organisations from Donor States (pursuant to Article 3.6(1)(b) of the Regulations) and, at the same time, are consistent within one of the following bilateral co-operation focus areas associated with the following programme results:
Result: Increased effectiveness of the management and monitoring of Natura 2000 sites
1) management of Norwegian and Polish protected areas/National Parks (public institutions such as government agencies, counties/poviats, municipalities/gminas);
2) endangered species and habitats;
3) a database documenting the general trends that concern the condition of the most important ecosystems and provide an overview of progress in halting the loss of biodiversity;
4) national legislation;
5) management and research generally associated with the species and natural habitats and endangered species and invasive alien species (public institutions at various levels, research institutes, NGOs, other organisations);
6) wetlands and management strategies, initiatives aimed at strengthening national and local capacity to manage ecosystem and to use biodiversity of wetlands in a sustainable way (central and local managing authorities, organisations, NGOs and others);
7) substantive management of biodiversity, comparative study. Integrated maritime management plans;
8) biodiversity and climate change (adaptation and mitigation).
Result: Increased resistance of native ecosystems to the pressure of invasive alien species
1) Experience in the management strategies for control and deletion of species from the blacklist
(government agencies, local administration, research institutes, sectoral programmes, organisations and others).
Result: Increased public awareness about biodiversity and education in this area in relation to climate change and the economic value of ecosystems.
1) Experience with environmental information centres, etc. Methods to communicate complex information about various issues associated with the environment such as wetlands and aquatic environment in general, individual animal species, national parks.
2) Species observation/registration system. Species registration system, observation of plants, insects and animals by interested persons, organisations and institutions.
3) Educational tools – educational toolkits on biodiversity for schools and lower-secondary schools.
4) National procedures associated with the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.
3. Entities eligible for co-financing
The co-financing by the EEA FM may be applied for by the following categories of entities pursuant to Article 6.2.1 of the Regulations and according to the provisions of the Strategy of the Bilateral Cooperation Fund for the PL02 Operational Programme entitled: "Protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems" under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014:
In an open call for proposals, all applicants that have been granted co-financing (the main call for proposals and the call for proposals for the Small Grants Fund) – regardless of whether they have submitted an application during an open call for proposals in a formal partnership with an entity from the Donor States or not.
4. Amount of funds earmarked for project co-financing
Project support under the call for proposals will amount to EUR 258,150, i.e. PLN 1,086,630.80.
The amount allocated in the call for proposals consists of the funds from the Bilateral Cooperation Fund of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and the state budget.
5. Project co-financing level
The maximum level of requested co-financing amounts to 100% of eligible project costs. The grant under the EEA FM funds represents 85% of eligible project costs and the Programme Operator’s contribution under the state budget amounts to 15% of eligible project costs.
6. Maximum and minimum project co-financing
The minimum co-financing in the call for proposals amounts to EUR 2,000, i.e. PLN 8,418.60, whereas the maximum co-financing amounts to EUR 10,000. i.e. PLN 42,093.00.
7. Expenditure eligibility period
Project eligibility period starts: on the date of the decision to co-finance a project by the Programme Operator. Project eligibility period ends: on 28 February 2017.
8. Project selection criteria
The applicants will fill in the applications for co-financing in Polish and will submit them for assessment and approval along with a partnership agreement or a letter of intent drawn up in English or Polish. The application will be considered filed in a partnership if, at the time of its submission, a partnership agreement or a letter of intent will be signed between the project applicant and their partner from Donor States. Model partnership agreement is available for download below.
Project evaluation is a two-step process, and it consists of formal and substantive evaluation. Only projects that meet all the formal criteria will undergo substantive assessment. Substantive assessment is a zero-one assessment. Fulfilment of all the substantive criteria by an application means a positive assessment.
The submitted applications will be evaluated by experts appointed by the Programme Operator for compliance with formal and substantive criteria on a continuous basis. Expert evaluators will sign a declaration of impartiality and confidentiality.
The formal assessment of an application shall be completed within 10 working days from the date of submission of an application, and the substantive assessment within 10 working days from the date of completion of the formal assessment.
The list of projects recommended for co-financing and bilateral partners can be consulted with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Poland before its publication.
The list of applicants who have been granted co-financing under the Bilateral Cooperation Fund will be published on the website of the Programme Operator and will be gradually updated until the exhaustion of the allocation.
The applicants who have been granted co-financing will be informed by the Programme Operator and the award of the grant and will be invited to sign a bilateral project contract.
Agreements on bilateral projects will be signed in Polish, and the amount of co-financing will be expressed in the currency of Polish zloty.
During the formal assessment, the Applicant will have a single opportunity to submit the missing documents. The opportunity to remedy the deficiencies at the stage of formal assessment shall apply to:
- obvious clerical and mathematical errors in the application and/or in annexes;
- the lack of the electronic version of the application and/or annexes;
- no conformity of the paper and the digital version of the application;
- missing annexes.
During the substantive assessment, the applicant will have a single opportunity to submit the missing documents/explanations for the failure to meet the substantive criteria.
In the event of necessity to submit missing documents, a request will be sent to the applicant via e-mail and fax (with proof of mailing) to remedy the deficiencies in the application or to provide explanations.
The request will define which criteria have not been met and will include a detailed indication of the extent of the irregularities. The missing documents and/or clarifications shall be presented by the applicant within 3 working days from the date of delivery of a request by the NFEPWM to submit missing documents.
The criteria for (formal and substantive) project evaluation are a part of the strategy approved by the Donors of the Bilateral Cooperation Fund for the PL02 Operational Programme entitled: "Protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems" under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. The Strategy of the Bilateral Cooperation Fund for the PL02 Operational Programme is available for download below.
9. Payment system
The co-financing will be provided solely in the form of reimbursement of eligible costs incurred in connection with implementation of the project on the basis of submitted and accepted project interim reports (applications for payment).
In the event when expenditure incurred by a project partner from the Donor States is verified, it may be settled on the basis of a report of an independent statutory auditor who confirms that the costs declared were incurred in accordance with the Regulations, domestic law and accounting practice in the country of the project partner.
The above-mentioned report should be recognised as a sufficient proof of incurred costs. This rule applies solely to a project partner from the Donor States pursuant to Article 7.13.5 of the Regulations.
10. Eligible and non-eligible expenditure, contribution in kind
In accordance with Article 7.7 of the Regulations, the following categories of expenditure are eligible under bilateral projects financed by the Bilateral Cooperation Fund:
(a) the fees and travel expenses associated with participation in conferences, seminars, courses, meetings and workshops;
(b) travel costs during study visits;
(c) travel costs and salaries associated with visits by experts;
(d) the costs of conferences, seminars, courses, meetings and workshops.
Travel costs include subsistence allowances pursuant to Article 7.3.1(b) of the Regulations.
The costs incurred by partners from Donor States are eligible, but the requests for reimbursement thereof may be submitted only by means of project interim reports submitted by the beneficiaries. Should the costs be considered eligible, they will be refunded to the beneficiaries.
All rules for non-eligibility of costs shall apply. Partners from the Donor States must include their costs in the project interim report submitted by a project beneficiary.
Contributions in kind and indirect costs do not apply to bilateral projects.
11. Deadlines, place and method of submission of proposals
The calendar for the call for proposals
Date of announcement of the call for proposals – 16 February 2015
Starting date for receipt of proposals from applicants – 3 March 2015
The ending date for receipt of proposals from applicants – 30 June 2015. If the available funds have not been exhausted, it shall be admissible to postpone the ending date for the call for proposals or to announce another date for the call for proposals.
The co-financing shall be awarded according to the order in which proposals have been submitted, provided that they have undergone the evaluation with a positive result, and the funds are available.
A complete application for co-financing with the required attachments, completed on a valid form and signed by an authorised signatory shall be submitted by the applicant in 1 copy in paper form and in 2 copies in electronic form (2 CDs/DVDs or 2 pen-drives) to the following address:
Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej
Departament Ochrony Klimatu
ul. Konstruktorska 3A
The proposal in paper form should be drawn up in A4 format and placed in a folder bearing the name of the programme, project and full name of the applicant. The electronic version on electronic media should also bear the name of the project and the applicant.
Application forms can be submitted in person at the Office of the National Fund during working hours, i.e. between 8 AM and 3 PM, or as a consignment sent by Poczta Polska (by Polish Post) or courier with acknowledgment of receipt. In case of applications dispatched via Poczta Polska or a courier service, the date of dispatching shall prevail.
12. Partner projects
It is required for all proposals to be bilateral proposals and partner proposals, i.e. proposals drawn up and submitted together with a partner from Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Partnerships established in order to implement a bilateral project with an entity other than an entity originating from the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) shall not be eligible in the call for proposals in question. In order to be certified that the partnership requirement has been met, it is required to attach a letter of intent or a partnership agreement to the proposal. Before concluding a project implementation agreement, it will be required to present a signed partnership agreement.
In order to support the establishment of partnerships with partners from Donor States, the Programme Operator encourages to visit, among other things, the following websites: http://www.ngonorway.org/ (potential partners from Norway) or to get in touch via email with the following persons:
Mr Kjartan Ingvarsson from the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources of Iceland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Panagiotis Potolidis-Beck, the Office of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein ()
Besides, please get acquainted with the information contained on the following websites:
13. Legal Framework and Programme Documents
When submitting an application, an applicant must comply with the provisions of the following documents:
- Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 (to be downloaded),
- Programme Agreement signed between the EEA Financial Mechanism Committee and the National Focal Point (to be downloaded),
- Regulations on the implementation of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014,
- Donor States’ Guidelines,
- "Strategy for Bilateral Cooperation Fund" for the PL02 Programme: "Protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems" (to be downloaded),
- Rules for the call for proposals.
14. Application form
The application form should be filled in exclusively on a form that has been designed for this purpose, which is available for download below along with the Instructions on filling in the application.
15. List of required attachments to the application
The application shall be accompanied by the following attachments:
1. Supporting documents for the partnership in the project (letter of intent or partnership agreement),
2. List of persons involved in project implementation on the side of the applicant,
3. Detailed programme of study visit/conferences/seminars/courses/meetings or workshops with specified objective of the event, the duration thereof and the profile and number of participants,
4. Declaration about the conformity of the paper version of the application with the electronic version,
5. Other documents if deemed necessary by the Applicant.
16. Application language
The application form with all required attachments should be submitted in Polish with the exception of the letter of intent and the partnership agreement, which may be submitted in Polish and/or English.
17. Programme Operator contact details
Any inquiries about the call for proposals should be addressed within its duration to the following address:
Departament Funduszy Ekologicznych
ul. Wawelska 52/54
Tel: 22 36 92 823
Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej
Departament Ochrony Klimatu
ul. Konstruktorska 3A
Tel: 22 45 95 819, 22 45 95 816
 The amount under the call for proposals is expressed in EUR and subsequently has been converted by the Programme Operator into the national currency and expressed in PLN using the average monthly exchange rate published in the Official Journal of the European Union (C series), calculated for the last 6 months before the month of the announcement of the call for proposals, where EUR 1 = PLN 4.2093).
 The institutions in the parentheses are the types of institutions that may be potential partners.
 A letter of intent or a partnership agreement.